Those who are born in the 80s and 90s (around 65% of us), they don’t really know the complex post-independence political history of India, especially the Indira Gandhi Era, except if they are political science or history students, or someone just picked up a Ramachandra Guha or Bipin Chandra book, then they would definitely know. But my article is for the uninformed proletariat and bourgeoisie class (Engineers, Doctors and Entrepreneurs of 21st century), who think Congress has always been the symbol of Dynastic politics and no one ever spoke against the Gandhis or the Nehrus. Well, you will be surprised to know these facts about the supposedly but not literally oldest political party of India.

  1. Indira Gandhi was once expelled from Indian National Congress in 1969 by the then Party President, S. Nijalingappa.

    Well, it didn’t happen in the matter of a snap, like expulsions happen today (Ram Jethmalani or Jaswant Singh being expelled by BJP, or Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan being expelled from AAP), it took 2-3 years before the party president could take an action against Indira Gandhi for anti-party activities. Well, can you believe a time in Indian politics when Indira Gandhi was our PM but she was not the President of Congress and the latter post was held by a right-wing group known as Syndicate led by Morarji Desai within Indian National Congress? Oh, man, it was some time, and truly representing a vibrant democracy ( though the dark times were about to come). Indira Gandhi was leading another front within Congress which was more left inclined, trying to nationalize banks, getting rid of the privileges given to princes, and curbing the monopolies of private sector. So, the rift between the two sections within INC became serious when Indira Gandhi openly supported V.V. Giri as President of India rather than Sanjiva Reddy, who was officially nominated by INC and supported by Party President and working committee. Hah! That was when she was expelled.

  2. Indian National Congress practically died in 1969 to form Congress(R) – R for Requisitionists – led by Indira Gandhi and Congress(O) – O for Organization – led by Morarji Desai.

    This happened after Indira Gandhi was expelled. A majority of Lok Sabha MPs and All India Congress Committee members followed Indira Gandhi, and Congress(R) easily won the 1971 national elections. Indira Gandhi returned as PM climbing high on the hopes of people for a better India. But soon, her popularity declined and J.P Movement happened. Then, the Allahabad High Court convicted Indira Gandhi for electoral malpractices in 1971 elections and stripped her of her parliamentary seat. Pressure mounted from all sides on Indira Gandhi to step down as PM of India, but then, she applied in the Supreme Court of India and EMERGENCY happened. Opposition leaders were jailed and press was censored. We all know it as the darkest time for Indian democracy ever!

  3. In 1978, Congress(R) which was recognized as Indian National Congress in 1976 by Election commission again split to form Congress(I) – I for Indira – and Congress(Urs) – Urs for Devraj Urs.

    Slowly, due to a lot of issues faced by the Janta Party government at the centre, elections had to be called in 1980 and Congress(I) led by Indira Gandhi again came to power.

  4. Congress never intended to show us their palm with joined fingers or someone’s palm and use it as an election symbol.

    No, it was neither to promote palmistry, nor to slap anyone daring the Gandhis. Well, they didn’t have much choice when the symbol was chosen by Indira Gandhi. It was one of the three reserved symbols floated by Election Commision before 1978 state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and chosen by Indira Gandhi as her new party’s elections symbol. The two symbols that were rejected by Indira Gandhi were a bicycle and an elephant.

    A tree explaining most of the Congress and the major parties formed after the split. Please note that the dotted line represents that some members of original parties joined the new party.

    A tree explaining most of the Congress and the major parties formed after the split. Please note that the dotted line represents that some members of original parties joined the new party.

  5. The election symbol of the real Indian National Congress at the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sardar Patel was “a pair of bullocks carrying a yoke”.


    Election symbols of major national parties in 1952 elections. Note the “two bullocks with a yoke” as a symbol of Indian National Congress and a palm facing hand as a symbol of All India Forward Block.

  6. The election symbol of Congress(R) led by Indira Gandhi between 1971 to 1976 was “a cow and a suckling calf.”

    "A Cow and a suckling calf" as election symbol of Congress(R) during 1971 elections.

    “A Cow and a suckling calf” as election symbol of Congress(R) during 1971 elections.

    After 1969 split, she spent considerable time to decide her new election symbol because she was not allowed to take the old election symbol of the real Indian National Congress. Congress(O) was allowed to use it as the real Congress party. Throughout the 70s “cow and calf” election symbol was ridiculed as Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi by opposition leaders.

  7. So far, the original Indian National Congress has given birth to more than 61 political parties, including the contemporary Indian National Congress, which was once the Congress(I) – I for Indira.

  8. Sonia Gandhi was made Party President within 62 days of joining Congress as a member.

    She is the fastest ever to climb the stairs of Congress presidency in the history of Indian National Congress, and she has not since stepped down from the prestigious position in Indian politics, thus making her the longest serving Party President in the history of Indian National Congress.

  9. Factually and literally, the Congress party that we see today headed by Sonia Gandhi should be known as Congress(I) and it is only 37 years and 361 days old (as on 29th December,2015).

    It was formed by Indira Gandhi after the All India meeting of her supporters on 1st and 2nd January,1978. Hah, so all the hullabaloo over the foundation day of Indian National Congress and its 131st anniversary was fake? Oh, no! India is a complex system. In 1986, Election Commission of India declared Congress(I) to be the real Indian National Congress because Congress(O), Congress(Urs), and other small political parties formed after splitting the earlier Congress were quite non-existent at that time. So, politics!

How do you feel about this?